Agenda update

The Government’s Business Growth Agenda seems to be delivering a stronger economy, according to lobby group, BusinessNZ. But there were some holes in the Agenda that needed addressing, said chief executive Phil O’Reilly.

“Second rate regulation continues to load compliance costs on business,” he said last week. “The Government should be advancing legislation that sets standards for lawmakers to help get fewer, better quality laws.

“Infrastructure is subject to increasingly complex procurement processes and unclear regulations, prompting investors to price in a risk premium, making our infrastructure more expensive and business less competitive. And more progress is needed towards agreed rules on water. We are yet to see any concrete proposals for allocating water rights, a key need for many business operations.”

Skill shortages and productivity still pose challenges despite the Agenda’s useful education initiatives, O’Reilly added. “We still have a severe shortage of skills needed by business – ICT, engineering, trades and others – and appreciate that it takes time to turn around the policies to get them, however there is a need for integrated policies to ‘grow the talent pipeline’ not just at the tertiary end but through the whole school system. And while taxpayers are spending billions on tertiary education, this has yet to translate into much improvement in our overall productivity.”

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